Pompei, Naples, Capri, Rome and Florence completed our stay in Italy. Our romance almost reignited in Rome but it was only a one -night stand to say goodbye. We both knew it was over. London, our final destination was shared on a formal basis and when our plane touched down in Boston K fled on the first bus to NH while I retrieved my car at my Mother’s.
The first few weeks at home were filled with catching up with the kids and sharing my adventures with friends. After a few days reality struck: I had no job, no prospects, and without the distractions of travel the syndrome of bingeing and purging returned with a vengeance. No matter all the promises to myself, saying I will not binge today, as soon as the door closed behind the kids I was eating everything I could find, as if in a dream, that only became real when I ran to the supermarket to replace the food so the kids wouldn’t get suspicious.
I decided I needed an “eating anonymous” group and penned a short ad, then brought it to the New Hampshire Times classified desk in Concord. When I handed it to the woman in charge she read it asking if I had ever heard of Womankind.
No, who are they, I asked.
She replied they were a group of women therapists who worked with women exclusively and believed they might be what I was looking for. With directions in hand I walked to their office a few blocks away, found the sign for Womankind, and walked up to their second floor office. I opened the door to an empty reception room but seeing coats on hooks guessed the closed doors off the reception area signaled therapy in session. I took a seat and waited. I was not going back home without some kind of resolution, even if it meant only learning where to look next. Soon two women emerged from one of the rooms. One put on her coat and left. The other, a handsome petit blond woman I came to know as Carol greeted me and asked if she could help me?
I took a deep breath and blurted out, as if I were exhaling fire, the secret and fears locked inside me. I ended by asking, do you work with women with these issues? Will you work with me?”
Carol later told me she had been stunned by my intensity, my fear and my need. To her credit she never let on but simply suggested I attend a group that met in two days and see how it worked out for me.
By week four of group I was learning not even this woman’s group knew how to deal with an angry woman. And I was angry. I suspected binging was eating my anger and purging rid me of it, albeit momentarily. I knew I had to get a grip on my anger, psychologically and intellectually. I might not be able to control my food abuse but I was in control of pursuing every avenue towards overcoming my addiction. I asked Carol to take me on for one to one therapy promising I would maintain my relationship with the group. She agreed.
Six months later I was accepted into a Master’s program majoring in the psychology of women, immersing myself in the politics and psychology of being a woman, an essential component, along with therapy, to freeing myself from food abuse. No one, and not all the money in the world, could heal me. Only I had that power. And, I was going to reclaim it!